How to Write Meeting Minutes Effectively

How to write meeting minutes effectively?

Writing minutes of meeting is not the most glamorous job in this universe, but it doesn’t mean you can just scribble down anything you like. Also, assuming that writing minutes is the job only for Secretary is not entirely correct.

A versatile executive would have no qualm in taking the responsibility to write the minutes of a meeting, either in place of an absent Secretary or just be part of the company’s culture to assign any of the meeting participants jotting down the minutes. As much as you hate meeting just like I do, getting yourself familiar with the minute writing is not the worst thing to do.

Here are some tips how to write meeting minutes effectively:

1. Know the purpose

Before writing minutes, you must know the purpose of it. First, a report of meeting minutes is a record. But it is just not the type of record you write, print out, file and then forever forget. It provides a historical account of official business and operational decisions, and involvement of people making the decisions. It is used as a reference which is periodically, or frequently referred to. Sometimes, minutes  of meeting can become a legal document for court cases.

2. Keep it concise

Keep the key information in order and make sure you don’t miss critical info. You only have a certain limited time and it will be impossible to write every single thing discussed during a meeting. So, keep it concise and compact. Take notes of the issues discussed, major points raised and decisions taken. Ensure your writing easily understood, and usable in the future. Keep in mind, many of the meetings require the attendees looking back at the previous meeting’s minutes.

3. Get right info, follow right format

To keep it short, here are list information that should be in your minutes of meeting:

  • Time, date and venue of meeting
  • List of attendance (and their position)
  • Agenda of meeting – key agenda, details, and specific action plan, and owner/executor of the plan
  • Name of person taking minutes (you!)

As for the format, there is no school of thought that says there is this specific format that you need to follow. What you need is a simple and user friendly format. You can follow the following:

[Name of company]

[Date, Time and Venue]

[Minutes prepared by]




[Details of meetings]

No Item Details Actions to be taken by

4. Keep a record

Normally, after minutes are hand-written, they are transferred into a proper computerized document (e.g. Microsoft Word or Excel), properly restructured, save and printed out. Good and fast typists can immediately record conversation into the computer/laptop, where this requires less time for fine tuning later on. The minutes are then distributed among the attendees of the meeting, or those who will be responsible to take actions as per discussed during the meeting.

Samples of minutes of meeting to come. Stay tuned.

33 Replies to “How to Write Meeting Minutes Effectively”

  1. Hello. This may be a question with an obvious answer (but I need to ask for my own peace of mind) — when a Worker group asked for Minutes of a meeting that took place between Management and Workers — the Management team said “Our National Manager was frazzled/stressed during the meeting – and now he wants to add some things//comments to the Minutes before they are sent out to everyone”.

    Correct me if I am wring — but Minutes are meant ot be an accurate record of comments//actions during the meeting —— Minutes are not a document that one side can manipulate after both parties have left the discussion table?

    Or otherwise — then the Minutes are a somewhat worthless and inaccurate (or worse) deliberately misleading document that may then be made to reduce the rights of one party?


  2. I am told I need to put quote marks around motions, I have never done this but am willing is this the norm.
    also when there are additions or corrections I add them to the minutes I am reading which are of course the previous meeting. I have been told they must be in the present meeting If the minutes I am reading are not approved until after I read and receive the additions and corrections I felt they went into the one I was reading. This is for a non profit organization and we are all volunteers. Thanks for the feed back

      1. While I want to agree with the submission of Mustapha above, I want stress the fact that minutes of a meeting refers to the summary of what is discussed therein. It does not necessarily mean, the rapporteur has to write what every other person says. What if three of four people say the same thing in different parlance, does the secretary have to write what each speaker say? The answer is ‘No’!

        Simply put, minutes is summary of what is discussed in a meeting and what action (s) is/are to be carried out subsequently

  3. can you lpease send me a sample of minuts takens at a meeting? specifically a company between M.D and staff.
    also a church between the branch head of a church and the leaders of the various institutions in the church. and how to insert a the names of a comment made by the speakes. i want to see how a minuts if different from a report.

    1. pls could you send me samples of minutes taken at a meeting?especially in an organisation like NGOs between the program manager and staff.and how to insert the names of a comment made by the speakers.thenk.

  4. I think minute written is like using words to paint a picture while editing a draft minute is like a carpenter using a plane to smoothen the edges of a woodwork.reading the final minutes is like picking each word as one would pick and eat pop corn out of a bag

  5. One interesting aspect of minute writting is in capturing the mood and tone of statements made by a speaker.A minute writter should be able to reflect the speakers temper/countenance.So if the CEO angrily issues a directive, it would be wrong to record that “the CEO said……” rather words like “emphasised”,”expressed displeasure at…” ,”dismissed” paint a more correct picture of proceedings at a meeting.





    The meeting was called to order then solemnised by a short prayer from Mr. Juma.

    The secretary read the previous minutes and members present agreed that they were the right ones for circulation.

    However, members suggested that the dressing code as had been agreed earlier was uncouth so everybody was to attend the Night show in free style.

    MIN 4/2011: FOOD SUPPLY.
    Members discussed and agreed that food supply was to be catered for by Mr. Kamau.

    MIN 5/2011: A.O.B
    Members agreed that all members absent without apology should be given worning letters.

    MIN 6/2011: END OF MEETING.
    There being no any other business for discusion, the meeting ended with a word of prayer from Mrs. Joan at 6pm.

  7. 1. Agend can also be included immediately after the heading.
    2. The heading to be underlined.
    3. The one compiling the list can also be identified.

  8. you are very helpful to me, thank you very much for your service. however am kindly asking you is confirmation of the minutes not necessary?

  9. Thank you very much for this wonderful example of minute-writing you have displayed up. It was my first time to see minutes written.I CAN NOT HIDE THIS; i would like you to keep on helping me where possible, especially in English related subjects, because i am doing my Bachelor of science (Biology and English) with university of Namibia and sometimes, i likely to experiencing very challenging questions.

    I am looking forward for your assistance.

    Thank you.

  10. I am very glad for the wonderful minute writting that you people have had a time to posted it the million of people who are likely use it.

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